Mother Nature laid it on thick: rain, wind, even a little ice for my test drive of the redesigned GS 430. Would this debutant handle the big stuff and still keep its luxe cool? Sure enough. This superbly redone second-generation GS is packed with safety technology that does everything to keep the sport sedan's hunky 18-inch wheels with Z-rated tires fixed on the road. Several times I felt the onboard computer kick in, fluttering the brakes and controlling the accelerator, to right the car when the back wheels began to slip. If the car got buffeted by wind, it self-corrected its steering. On a rain-slicked straightaway, I turned off the traction-control button and floored it, just to see how sure-footed the GS would be without its safety gizmos. Huge surprise that the GS shot forward with no slippage or tire spin. Very nice.

Technology carries into the cockpit with push-button ignition, heated seats and an ingenious drop-panel drawer that controls 10 different functions, like the fuel-tank latch and side-mirror toggle. It's a perfect solution to a cluttered dashboard. And the optional Mark Levinson audio system, with 330 watts and 14 speakers, delivers the purest sound I've ever heard from a car stereo. So though it was stormy outside, inside it was a day at the beach.

Tip: For the first time, the GS also comes in a three-liter, V-6 all-wheel-drive version that delivers even better traction but less power for $6,000 less.